Rugby night headlines as Wasps release Thomas Young statement and former Wales fly-half floats Anglo-Welsh plan

These are the headlines from tonight’s rugby night on Monday 24th January.

Young discharged from hospital

Wales international Thomas Young has been released from hospital in Ireland.

The flanker underwent tests today after spending the night at Limerick University Hospital following a neck injury in Wasps’ game against Munster.

The game was shut down for about 10 minutes amid certain scenes.

But a club statement today read: “Wasps can confirm that Thomas Young, after an injury during yesterday’s Heineken Champions Cup match, has spent the night at University Hospital Limerick.

“After a series of scans last night and this morning, he has now been released from hospital and can therefore fly home later in the day with the head of the club’s medical service.

“We would like to thank everyone at Munster Rugby and University Hospital Limerick for their care and support, as well as those within the rugby community who have reached out.”

Thomas reaches milestone

Bristol Bears coach Pat Lam praised Welsh flanker Dan Thomas after making his 100th appearance for the club in their Champions Cup win over the Scarlets.

It was fitting that Thomas, who hails from Carmarthen, would achieve the feat so close to home – with Lam praising the 28-year-old’s tenacity for putting the disappointment behind him in reaching the milestone.

“As I said before the match, he is not only a great example for Welsh rugby players, or even rugby players, but for people in general,” Lam said.

“You’re told you’re not good enough when you’re young here. You go to Gloucester and you’re told you’re not good enough there.

“You come to Bristol and we got him into the championship five years ago. The dream was to play Champions Cup rugby.

“For him to come home here, he comes from just down the road in Carmarthen and his family was here, and playing 100 games for Bristol is phenomenal. I’m proud of him.”

“He’s a stubborn mule. He still needs to improve his game.

“But that’s tenacity and perseverance at its best. I’m happy for him.”

Lam was also asked about Thomas’ chances of a test call, noting that Wales are not short of options in the back row.

“I think for me he can only play well for his club and be a contender. But there are so many others.”

“Is he better than what is? That’s up to Wayne to decide. All you can do is give gigs and be an option.

“There’s a hodgepodge of rear rowers – and especially sevens – in Wales. It’s a real strength for them.”

Turner calls for Anglo-Welsh league

Former Wales fly half Paul Turner has called for an Anglo-Welsh competition between teams and teams from the Welsh Premiership in the English Championship.

Turner, who is currently head coach of Ampthill, told Dai Sport: “I think an Anglo-Welsh competition would be beneficial for both Championship and Welsh Premiership clubs.

“Obviously it would be a semi-professional race. In England, PRL runs the Premiership, and the Championship is currently being thrown under the bus in a similar position to the Premiership in Wales.

“The other Championship clubs would be interested, but the problem is we don’t run our own league. Our leagues are run by the RFU, and while I understand that Covid has hit everyone’s finances hard, we still think it’s potential of an Anglo-Welsh league would work better.

“It’s like forming a fantasy league, but the governing body says you can’t do it.

“Even if I go back to my time coaching the Dragons in Wales, the Premiership has been neglected.

“Even at that time, ten years ago, players left to play their rugby in the English Championship rather than play their club rugby in the Premiership.

“A good example would have been Cory Hill leaving Cardiff to play for Moseley, and it was a good stepping stone for him to play for Wales.

“Unless the Premiership is solved by hand in hand with the regions, then this is going to happen.”

Roberts leaves Wales

Former Wales center Jamie Roberts will leave the Dragons at the end of January and move to Australia.

The Dragons said 35-year-old Roberts has been granted parole from his contract to join his Sydney-born partner, who is expecting their second child in March.

Roberts joined the Dragons in August 2020. His previous clubs have included Cardiff, Harlequins and Bath, while he was recently linked with the Sydney-based Waratahs.

He won the last of his 94 caps in Wales more than four years ago, and he also took part in three tests for the British and Irish Lions.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving the Dragons at the end of the month,” said Roberts. “I would like to personally thank Dean (Dragon’s Rugby Director Dean Ryan) for understanding my personal circumstances.

“As my Sydney born partner is expecting our second child in March, we feel the best decision for our family is to be surrounded by her support network in Sydney during this time.

“While it will be difficult to leave, I do so with many fond memories.”

Dupont wins another prize

Scrum half Antoine Dupont from France has been voted the Rugby Union Writers’ Club’s Personality of the Year for 2021.

Dupont succeeds Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter as holder of the Pat Marshall Memorial Award after an outstanding 12 months for Les Bleus and Toulouse, the club he helped to a Heineken Champions Cup and Top 14 double.

The current World Rugby Player of the Year has continued to redefine scrum half play through the excellence of his running and kicking, generality and defence.

The 25-year-old has also emerged as leader for France, taking the captain’s armband in a successful run last fall, including a first home win over New Zealand since 2009.

Dupont follows in the footsteps of greats of the game who have been acclaimed by the RUWC, such as Gareth Edwards, Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson, Jonny Wilkinson, Brian O’Driscoll, Maggie Alphonsi and Dan Carter.

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